This is my final post on my half marathon. Scroll down to see the first two posts, or click on the labels.
My Mom and I were lined up at the start, each of us wearing a cotton long-sleeve over our clothes to keep warm. After the National Anthem, Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother appeared on stage, and announced the start of the race. I made a split second decision- I had put together a nice running outfit, and that was what I was going to wear. I pulled off my long-sleeve, and with some encouragement (“N-no, it-t-t’s not-t-t that-t-t cold-d-d.”) my Mom followed suit. It turned out to be a good thing, because once we were moving and the sun came up, we warmed up pretty fast. There was a small explosion of fireworks, and we were off!
I run 3-1 intervals for my long runs (which a half marathon definitely is), which means I run for 3 minutes, then walk for 1 minute. It helps me to pace myself, and keeps me from wearing out too quickly. But the start of the race was very crowded, and it not only would have been rude, but also dangerous, to stop and walk. So my Mom and I ran nearly the whole first mile, before noticing another women doing intervals. Each time she was about to walk, she held her hand up as a warning to the runners around. My Mom and I quickly adopted this practice.
There was never a dull moment during the first half of the race. Adrenaline kept us going through the breaks in the entertainment, of which there was plenty. There was a pirate crew (complete with Captain Jack Sparrow!) leering from their ship (and wandering drunk across the race course), and the very popular “Heroes” float, filled with most of the Disney Princes. Of course, there were also plenty of Princesses.
Thankfully, not all the entertainment was Disney themed. There were high-school drumlines and bands, DJ’s, and music all along the course too. And, of course, the other runners. My Mom’s a bit of a celebrity in the running community here, and it seemed like every other person had to stop and say hi to us. Several even turned around to take our picture! (We’re still hoping to get some of them…hint, hint, if you have one).
The excitement peaked as we entered the Magic Kingdom and approached Cinderella Castle (no apostrophe- it’s named for her; it doesn’t belong to her). There were cheering spectators, waving characters, and even the maintenance crews shouted encouragement as we ran past. It was exhilarating. My legs couldn’t even tell that they had run 6 miles, and I was grinning like a kid at, well, Disney.
But after we got through the backlot of the Magic Kingdom, which was full of characters, it all changed.
Silence. The exhaustion started to seep in, runners started to slow down, and the smattering of spectators seemed more pathetic than encouraging. I started to drag, but my Mom was their at my side, encouraging.
“How are doing?”
*gasp* “Good.” *gasp*
“Well, you look great!”
With her help, I pushed through. And while the miles weren’t going by as fast as before, they did go by, and finally we turned into EPCOT.
Instantly, the exhilaration and excitement of the Magic Kingdom returned, and even though my legs felt like bricks, I was grinning.
We turned the final corner coming out of EPCOT, and there was a gospel choir- and right behind them was the finish. My Mom and I picked up our speed to our final sprint (“sprint” being used very loosely here to mean ‘as fast as I could run after having just run 13 miles’), and all of sudden, we were across the line.
We were finished. We had done it. The first race I ever got to share with my Mom was over- an incredible, unforgettable, half marathon.